Question Time

Richard Collings, Caerphilly, Wales [SEE PROFILE BELOW]

Precious Seed

QUESTION

In light of the truth of election, is it right to pray for the salvation of a specific individual?

ANSWER

Ever since the first century there have been many doctrinal controversies that have divided the people of God, but few have caused more discord than that relating to the subject of election. Therefore, it is highly probable that many readers will hold a different viewpoint to that being stated here. Of one thing we can be sure, the problem doesn’t derive from what the Bible teaches, but from our interpretation of that teaching.

In the timeless ages before the foundation of the world, when there was no one but God, nowhere but the third heaven and nothing except the manifestation of divine characteristics, God made choices. In the majesty of His own sovereignty, and by means of His foreknowledge, He picked out of the masses of humanity specific individuals. As a result of the death, burial and resurrection of His Son those thus chosen were certain to be saved and will, one day, be in God’s presence ‘holy and without blame’, Eph. 1. 4. There are several verses that could be presented to establish the fact that election relates to specific individuals, including, Acts 13. 48; 1 Thess. 1. 4; 2 Thess. 2. 13; and 2 John 1, 13.

In harmony with the foregoing, there is another line of truth set out in the scriptures, that of man’s personal responsibility and accountability to God. No one will be damned because they were not chosen, but they will be judged because they did not obey the gospel. That is why Peter writes, ‘What shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?’ 1 Pet. 4. 17. Although eternal life is available to everyone, many will miss this free gift, not because they were not elected, but because of their carelessness. For this reason the question is asked, ‘How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord’, Heb. 2. 3.

Even a cursory reading through the New Testament will indicate that God demands a response from mankind to the ‘good news’. This emancipating message is a commandment to be obeyed, Acts 17. 30, it is a promise to be accepted, Acts 2. 39, it is truth to be depended on, 1 Tim. 1. 15, and it is a power to be experienced, Rom. 1. 16. Even though sinners are ‘without strength’, Rom. 5. 6, and ‘dead in trespasses and sins’, Eph. 2. 1, through the convicting energy of the Holy Spirit unbelievers are required to comply with the terms of the gospel. Failure to do so places man in the position of being without excuse.

One day, the offer of salvation will be withdrawn for ever and divine judgement will fall on the ranks of godless humanity. Legions of people, small and great, will be consigned to eternal perdition. These unrepentant souls shall be cast into the lake of fire and will be judged ‘according to their works’, Rev. 20. 12. Their doom is not the consequence of being overlooked by a sovereign God, but is the consequence of their sinful works.

Because we are finite beings it may not be possible for us to harmonize these two lines of truth, but the apparent contradiction is due to the limitations of our minds. That God sovereignly elects, and that man is personally responsible, are dogmas that do not need to be reconciled for they have never been at variance within the mind of God. We, therefore, have to acknowledge both and act accordingly. As a result, we should respond to the injunction to preach the gospel everywhere, Mark 16. 15, and to pray ‘for all men’, 1 Tim. 2. 1-4.

That it is right to pray for the salvation of people in general is beyond question, for we have a definite example of it in Romans. Writing to the Christians in Rome Paul states, ‘Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved’, Rom. 10. 1. If we are exhorted to pray for all men, and as Paul prayed for a specific segment of mankind, it cannot be wrong to pray for a specific individual. Timothy’s mother and grandmother taught him the Holy Scriptures from his earliest days, are we to suppose that neither of these godly women prayed for his salvation?

I would be amazed if any readers of this article who are parents, grandparents, or near family of unbelieving relatives have never felt the need to pray for the salvation of their loved ones. Furthermore, if it is wrong to pray for the salvation of a particular person would it not be equally wrong for an individual to pray for their own salvation? As we look at the tenor of New Testament teaching it does not present the electing purposes of God as negating the need for the gospel to be preached, the servants to be enabled and prayers to be made for the unbelieving.

Maybe a burdened mother or father will be reading these lines, longing for their family to be saved. Take courage; continue in your praying, ‘For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved’,1 Tim. 2. 3-4.

AUTHOR PROFILE: RICHARD COLLINGS is a trustee of Precious Seed and writes the ‘Question Time’ page of the magazine.

There are 26 articles in
ISSUE (2010, Volume 65 Issue 3)

Aberdeen New Year Conferences

And God said, let Us make man

Bits & Bobs

Chains of Grace

Editorial

Gospel Work and Other Activities

Greater than the Temple

Hallmarks Of Design

An Introduction to a Study of Future Events

Jesus Christ: The Prince of preachers

The Joy and Suffering of the Furtherance of the Gospel

Motorway Text Trust

The Mysteries of the Kingdom of God (3)

Opening Up James

Our Three New Publications . . .

The Parable of the Unjust Steward - Part 1

Personalities In The Pastoral Epistles (1)

The Pilgrim Church

Principles of Powerful Prayer in the Book of Acts

The Prize

Question Time

Samson a model of inconsistency

The Universal Church of God

Views from the News

We’re Starting Married Life ... Help and Advise Please (3)

A Word for Today: Be Just, Righteous (Heb. Sedek)

This article is not part of a series

There are 41 articles by this author

Question Time

Question Time

Question Time

Question Time

An Introduction to a Study of Future Events

Question Time

Question TIme - Why do I find it hard to spend time in prayer?

Question - Will there be different levels of reward for believers?

Question - Is it wrong for a woman to cut her hair?

Question Time - Does the Bible specify a dress code for the meetings?

Question TIme - Should there be a minimum age set for those requesting baptism?

Question TIme - What is scriptural marriage?

Question TIme - Should elders discuss matters relating to oversight with their wives?

Recognising Elders

Question TIme - Can I use my natural skills in the service of the Lord?

Question TIme - Does the teaching of 1 Corinthians chapter 11 verses 2-16 apply only to assembly gat

Question TIme - Is it wrong for a Christian to be cremated?

Question Time - What guidance does the scripture give regarding organ donation?

Question Time - Are there scriptural grounds to justify leaving one assembly to join another in the

The Final rebellion and the great white throne judgement

An overview of the Lord’s Supper

Question Time

Question Time

The Symbols of Headship

Question Time

Question Time - Why are people leaving assemblies and meeting elsewhere?

Question Time - What is the most effective way of teaching God’s people?

Question Time

Question Time - Should some assemblies consider meeting in a house instead of a hall?

Question Time - Will the church go through the great tribulation?

Question Time - Does the New Testament stipulate what meetings an assembly should convene?

Question Time - Is ill health an evidence of God’s chastening?

Question Time - Why do we worship on a Sunday and not on the seventh day?

Question TIme

Question Time - Is it appropriate for assemblies to donate to non-Christian charities?

Question Time - What advice can be offered to a couple who cannot have children?

Question Time

Question Time

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Question Time

Question Time - Is it wrong for a Christian to go out with someone who is not saved?